Anyone who’s played poker knows the power of the bluff. The best players can even have all the cards and bluff anyway. When negotiating with people and things don’t seem to be going one’s way, bluffing can often turn the situation around. Raising or upping the ante can shake your opponent and make them uncertain of their own hand, if done right. Republicans in the House and Senate need two things, communication skills, which I’m not sure they’ll ever grasp, and shaking up the game.
With the Debt Ceiling debate and now Gun Control, legislation is the only weapon that the House has left. Democrats own the press, the Senate and the White House. The GOP and their surrogates are more or less clueless about the fight that is on their hands. As was once said about Pres. Bush and Sen. Kerry during the 2004 campaign, “Pres. Bush is playing chess and the Kerry campaign is playing checkers. “ Well the tables have turned. Hope and Change attracted a lot of chess nerds, so we’d better start thinking moves ahead. Republicans now have to use legislation to get noticed; rhetoric in the media won’t cut it anymore.
When all that’s left is something crazy, you run a trick play or get ready to go home. The first thing that the House should be concerned about is the Debt Ceiling. “Ok Mr. President, you want more revenue, you name the price you think is fair and we’ll raise it that much. What’s it to be, sixty, eighty, ninety percent? You name it. We know this won’t work, and we advise against it, but far be it from us to be uncooperative. You name fair and we’ll do that. Instead of trying to please everyone, you generate anger in everyone instead by showing the ridiculousness of your opponent’s argument. Andrew Wilkow suggested nuclear micro-messaging, but I’m talking straight nuclear bombing; there’s not much left. “
On the recent gun control debate the tactic must be much different. Fox News held an interesting proposal during a recent conversation on designing a bill limiting the arsenal of the Secret Service and all bodyguards, especially celebrities, to ten round magazines. Additionally, a bill should be crafted that would limit the military to ten round magazines also. The key to this strategy is to take your opponents’ arguments andamplify them to show their ridiculous position and force them to make objective arguments, while appearing to be cooperative.
These tactics are scary, the chance always exists that one’s opponent realizes one’s tactics and callsthem. At this point though, there is little for the existing Republicans to lose. 2014 looks really grim currently and a third party split seems likely; it’s just a matter of when. The country could not get the idea that these legislative moves aren’t meant to be serious and reject them. On the other hand, the run play up the middle that the GOP has been running for three years now isn’t working either.
The GOP has always thought that if they tried to please everyone, they’d keep their power and consequently lose more of it each day. Conservatives like me have increasingly talked about whether it’s time for a third party yet, or even actively suggested one. The time is drawing near where the GOP may realize that they have nothing to lose, and you know what they say about those folks.